DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper.
Photo: Dante Carrer
By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Staff Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Minister Chester Cooper said the British Colonial Hotel will open on December 12 with 288 renovated rooms, 300 Bahamian employees and 18,000 sq ft of meeting space.
The iconic hotel closed its doors on February 15, 2022, and has since had more than $100 million done in renovations.
Mr Cooper, the minister for tourism, investments and aviation, noted that the country has had more than 7.2 million visitors for the year, exceeding the total for 2019.
“This is the strongest tourism has ever been in the country,” he said.
Mr Cooper said through September, foreign air and sea arrivals increased by 50.4 per cent compared to 2022. Cruise arrivals were up 60 per cent over 2022 and 45 per cent over 2019.
Visitors from the United States of America represented 90 per cent of overall arrivals, followed by Canada and the United Kingdom/Europe.
Mr Cooper said The Bahamas is also seeing increased traffic from Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Australia, with numbers surpassing those last year and the year before.
As for visitor trends, he said almost 65 per cent of stopover visitors travelled to The Bahamas for vacation, 16 per cent for weddings and honeymoons, 5.6 per cent to play in the casinos, and 3.5 per cent for business.
“We have some of the most attractive cruise destinations in the region, with the new Port of Nassau making waves on social media and throughout travel sectors,” Mr Cooper said.
He said New Providence, Bimini, the Berry Islands, Half Moon Cay, and other destinations have experienced significant growth in cruise arrivals in the past two years, with more tourists coming off ships and spending more money and time on shore.
He said room rates are 60 per cent higher than in 2019.